Tag Archives: Vectorization

Pcompress 1.3 released

Parallel Compression RevisitedI have put up a new release of Pcompress on the Google Code download page. This release focusses primarily on performance enhancements across the board and a few bug fixes. The changes are summarized below:

  1. Deduplication performance has improved by at least 2.5X as a result of a variety of tweaks to the core chunking code.
    • One of the interesting changes is to use a 16-byte SSE register as the sliding window since I am using a window size of 16. This avoids a lot of memory accesses but requires SSE4.
    • The perf utility allowed me to see that using the window position counter as a context variable causes a spurious memory store for every byte! Using a local variable allows optimization via a register. This optimization affects the situation where we do not have SSE4.
    • Compute the full fingerprint only when at least minimum chunk length bytes have been consumed.
  2. Delta Compression performance and effectiveness have both been improved. I have tweaked the minhash approach to avoid storing and using fingerprints. That approach was causing memory write amplification and significant slowdown. Rather I am just treating the raw data as a sequence of 64-bit integers and heapifying them. Bsdiff performance has been improved along with RLE encoding. I also tweaked the matching approach. It now checks for similar blocks that are some distance apart depending on the compression algorithm. This actually causes long range similar blocks to be delta-ed eventually helping the overall compression.
  3. One of the big changes is the inclusion of the BLAKE2 checksum algorithm and making it the default. BLAKE2 is one of the highest-performing cryptographic checksums, exceeding even MD5 in performance on 64-bit platforms. It is derived from BLAKE, one of the NIST SHA3 runner ups with a large security margin.
  4. I have tweaked Yann Collet’s xxHash algorithm (non-cryptographic hash) to vectorize it and make it work with 32-byte blocks. Performance is improved for both vectorized and non-vectorized versions. I have covered this in detail in my previous post: Vectorizing xxHash for fun and profit.
  5. I have tweaked the AES CTR mode implementation to vectorize it. CTR mode encrypts a 16-byte block consisting of a 64-bit nonce or salt value and a 64-bit block counter value concatenated together. This is then XOR-ed with 16 bytes of plaintext to generate 16 bytes of ciphertext. The block counter is then incremented and the process repeated. This XOR handling with 16-bytes can be nicely done in an XMM register. The result is faster even when using unaligned SSE2 loads helped a little with data prefetch instructions.
  6. Apart from BLAKE2 I also included Intel’s optimized SHA512 implementation for x86 processors and moved to using SHA512/256. This improves SHA2 performance significantly on x86 platforms.
  7. BLAKE2 includes a parallel mode. I also included simple 2-way parallel modes for other hashes including KECCAK when compressing a single file in a single chunk. This is essentially a single-threaded operation so other forms of parallelism need to be employed.
  8. With all the vectorization being thrown around with SSE2/3/4 and AVX1/2 versions of various stuff, I have also added runtime CPU feature detection to invoke the appropriate version for the CPU. At least SSE2 capability is assumed. At this point I really have no intention of supporting Pentium and Atom processors! This also requires one to use at least the Gcc 4.4 compiler so that things like SSE4.2 and AVX intrinsics can be compiled even if CPU support for them is not available.
  9. In addition to all the above some bug fixes have also gone into this release.

However this is in no way the full gamut of optimizations possible. There are more changes to be done. For example I need to add support for optimized AES GCM mode. This is a block cipher mode of operation which combines encryption and authentication avoiding the need to for a separate HMAC. HMAC is still useful for situations where one may want to authenticate but not encrypt. Deduplication performance can be further improved by at least 2X. The current chunking code has a silly oversight.  HMAC needs to support parallel modes. I also need to enable parallel operation for LZP in single-chunk modes. In addition I want to explore use of GPGPUs and CUDA for hashing, chunking etc.